The following is a typical outline for prenatal care visits with our office. Your pregnancy may require more visits than listed or may require a referral to a high-risk pregnancy specialist, Perinatologist if warranted.
|6-8 Weeks||Pregnancy Confirmation Visit – pregnancy and genetic counseling, urine pregnancy test, pap smear, STD cultures, physical exam. There will be no ultrasound performed at this visit.|
|7-8 weeks||First ultrasound – routine prenatal labs (blood type, blood count, hepatitis B, HIV, syphilis, Rubella immunity, urine culture, and drug screen).|
|12 weeks||OB visit – fetal heart tones able to be found via doppler, optional genetic testing for chromosomal abnormalities performed.|
|16 weeks||OB visit – genetic testing for neural tube defects (optional)|
|20 weeks||OB visit – ultrasound screening for anatomy and fetal malformations|
|24 weeks||OB visit|
|28 weeks||OB visit – 1-hour gestational diabetes and anemia screening, Rhogam if RH negative, TDaP vaccine|
|30 weeks||OB visit|
|32 weeks||OB visit|
|34 weeks||OB visit|
|36 weeks||OB visit – Group B Strep vaginal culture, anemia, and HIV screening, check the position of baby|
|37 weeks||OB visit|
|38 weeks||OB visit – cervical exam|
|39 weeks||OB visit – cervical exam|
|40 weeks||OB visit – cervical exam, delivery planning|
|6 weeks after delivery||Postpartum visit, family planning counseling, postpartum depression & postpartum anxiety screening|
Outline of Prenatal Care: During your first OB visit, we will confirm your pregnancy with a urine pregnancy test and assign your due date based on your last menstrual period. We will discuss pregnancy expectations and outline your care with our practice. A pelvic exam with Pap smear test and cultures will be performed if necessary. If any pregnancy risk factors or medical concerns are identified, we will discuss plans for the management of your pregnancy.
Your next office visit will involve an ultrasound evaluation to confirm your pregnancy due date,
You then meet with your primary obstetrician, schedule permitting. Blood work for pregnancy will also be drawn at that visit. After that visit, we will see you every 4 weeks in the office until your 28th week of pregnancy. Please refer to the outline of obstetric care for a schedule of your prenatal visits.
Rotation of Obstetric Patients: During the first 20 weeks of your pregnancy, your office visits will be scheduled with your primary obstetrician. As your pregnancy progresses, you will rotate your visits among our providers in order to meet all the physicians and nurse practitioners in our practice. Hopefully, you’ll get to meet with each doctor a couple of times. The on-call doctor will manage any phone calls after office hours and the delivery of your baby. Our practice shares call coverage with North Atlanta OB/GYN on nights and weekends. This means there is a small chance that one of our Northside Northpoint providers may not be managing your care at the hospital when you go into labor.
Nutrition/Weight Gain: During pregnancy, we would like you to eat a balanced diet of all the main food groups. This includes meats, fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, and dairy products. We will recommend or prescribe a daily prenatal vitamin to supplement your diet. If you have a BMI between 19-24.9, we recommend that you gain 25-35 pounds during your pregnancy. You will only need to add about 300 calories to your normal diet to accomplish this. If you are above your ideal body weight or have a BMI >30, it is recommended to limit weight gain to 15-20 pounds.
Personal Care and Beauty Products: After 12 weeks gestation, you may color or perm your hair. Nail polish and nail polish remover are also allowed. You may have a massage if you lie on your side. Be aware if you use a tanning bed that, your skin may be more sensitive to the rays due to pregnancy-related pigment changes. Do not get in a hot tub or sauna, but you may take a hot bath as long as the water temperature is below 100 degrees.
Prenatal/Breastfeeding/Childbirth Classes: We recommend that you participate in childbirth classes to learn about your pregnancy and the labor and delivery process with our practice. Our nurse practitioner, Ashleigh Clark, teaches our Understanding Childbirth class, Northside Hospital also offers childbirth classes. We recommend attending a childbirth class, usually around 28 weeks. For breastfeeding support, our nurse practitioner Garland Andres is a certified lactation consultant, and she teaches a breast-feeding class each month.
Laboratory Testing: Your prenatal blood work will be drawn at approximately your 8th week of pregnancy. This includes your blood type, rubella immunity, antibody screen, and anemia screening. We will also be screening for syphilis, hepatitis, and HIV.
Warning Signs: During the first trimester, every woman has an approximately 15% risk of miscarriage. Signs of miscarriage are vaginal bleeding, severe pelvic pain, or passage of tissue. Call us if you experience any of these warning signs.
Risk Assessment: Any medical problem or risk factor will be identified for you and discussed along with a plan of management throughout the pregnancy. For many high-risk pregnancies, our practice will consult with a perinatologist (high-risk OB specialist) during the pregnancy.
Toxoplasmosis: This is a parasitic disease passed through cat feces. Since the ova are aerosolized when the litter box is changed, you should have another family member handle this chore. Handling the cat itself is not a risk factor. Another way to contract this disease is by eating raw meat, which you should avoid.
Fish Consumption: Trace amounts of methyl mercury are found in nearly all types of fish. Since exposure to high levels of methyl mercury can damage the fetal nervous system, the Federal Drug Administration advises that pregnant women do not eat fish containing high levels of mercury, such as swordfish, shark, tilefish, and king mackerel. We also recommend that you limit your intake of canned tuna to no more than five ounces per week, the equivalent of a drained 6-ounce can. Please refer to the FDA’s website for further information at www.fda.gov.
Listeria: Listeria is a harmful bacteria that can be found in certain refrigerated, ready-to-eat foods and soil. Please avoid eating hot dogs or luncheon meat unless reheated to steaming hot, any soft cheese made from milk that is not pasteurized, refrigerated pates or meat spreads, and refrigerated smoked seafood.
Influenza Vaccine: The Division of Public Health of the Georgia Department of Human Resources and the American College of OB/GYN recommend the flu vaccine for all pregnant women, regardless of trimester, during influenza season. The flu vaccine is available at our office.
COVID-19 Vaccine: The Division of Public Health of the Georgia Department of Human Resources, CDC, and the American College of OB/GYN recommend the COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses for all pregnant women, regardless of trimester.
Warning Signs: Between 12 and 20 weeks, the main warning sign is bleeding. If you experience bleeding, call the office to determine if you need to be evaluated. From 20 to 36 weeks, in addition to bleeding, you should be aware of contractions. Contractions (feeling that the abdomen and uterus become hard and then feel soft again) can be normal during pregnancy. However, if you have eight or more contractions per hour (or less than eight per hour, but they persist for two or three hours), have persistent cramping, or have intermittent to persistent back pain, then call the office for evaluation.
Quickening/Fetal Development: You will probably begin to feel slight fetal movement between 16 and 20 weeks.
Diabetes Screen/Rhogam Injection: We will screen for gestational diabetes at 28 weeks by giving you a Glucola to drink in a five-minute period. One hour later, your blood will be drawn. If your blood type is Rh-negative and the baby’s father has RH-positive blood, you will also receive a rhogam injection at your 28-week appointment.
Nutrition and Weight Gain: These are reviewed on an individual basis. You should eat a well-balanced diet, including a total of 1500 mg of calcium daily. You should gain approximately one-half to one pound per week maximum during pregnancy. If weight gain is too great or below normal, nutrition consultation might be advised.
Breast/Bottle Feeding: We encourage you to breastfeed. There are many benefits to the newborn, the greatest of which is the increased ability to fight infection due to the antibodies passed through the breast milk. Breastfeeding also provides an opportunity for the mother and child to bond. Our practice has our own in-house lactation consultant Garland Andres available at our office. The lactation consultants are available at Northside Hospital and can be reached at 404-303-3511. If you decide not to breastfeed, bottle-fed babies are also very healthy and well bonded with their mothers.
Pediatrician Selection: It is necessary to select a pediatrician prior to delivery. We would like you to begin thinking of your choice now. If you have a list from which your insurance company requires you to choose, bring it with you to your appointment, and we will be happy to make a recommendation to you.
Cord Blood Banking: At the time of delivery, you will have the unique opportunity to bank or save the umbilical cord blood. The cord blood from the baby’s umbilical cord is a rich source of stem cells or “master” cells of the body. These are not the controversial embryonic stem cells. The cord blood that is not banked is discarded as medical waste. The stem cells can develop into any cell line in the body. This includes blood, bone, tissues, and organs. Stem cells can be used to treat approximately 80 different medical conditions. The stem cells can, in essence, repair the defective cell line. The stem cells can be used for your child or even other family members. Regenerative medicine is one of the most rapidly growing fields of medicine. We encourage you to look into this topic and decide prior to delivery if cord blood banking is right for you.
Warning Signs: At 28 weeks and beyond, your baby’s movements will be more consistent, and you can begin fetal kick counts. There are several ways to perform kick counts. We recommend performing kick counts each day at a consistent time when your baby tends to be most active. Your baby should move 10 times within 1-2 hours. If at first, your baby is not very active, try to change positions or eat a snack. If after 2 hours your baby has not moved 10 times, notify our office. The movement counts should only be done once daily and are a reassurance of your baby’s health.
If you feel a contraction, which is where the uterus “balls up”, your abdomen hardens, and then subsequently the uterus feels soft again, you should understand that these could be normal. If you have more than eight contractions in an hour, you should call the office for a possible evaluation of pre-term labor. Again, please remember to continue to report contraction activity that is greater than eight per hour. Also, report any vaginal bleeding.
Travel Restrictions: You may travel domestically until you are 36 weeks (or internationally until 28 weeks), but we do want you to stay around town after that. If you do travel, remember to keep your ankles, knees, and hips moving while sitting for long periods of time. Get up every two hours and walk for five to ten minutes to increase circulation. Keep well hydrated during travel by drinking water.
Circumcision: If the baby is a boy, do you want him circumcised? Circumcision is a procedure where the foreskin is removed from the end of the penis. It is performed by one of our doctors usually the day after delivery. This procedure is considered cosmetic and is usually done for cultural reasons. There are some small medical benefits including decreased urinary tract infections and decreased penile cancer, but these conditions are rare.
Labor and Delivery Routine: After 36 weeks and 6 days, we no longer need to be concerned about pre-term labor. If you go into labor at this point, we would allow delivery without trying to stop labor. Signs of labor include vaginal bleeding, ruptured membranes, and regular contractions. If you have regular, progressively strengthening contractions that are approximately five minutes apart for at least 1 hour, you are probably in active labor and should call the office. Also call if you experience any heavy bleeding or if you think your water has broken and we will direct you to Labor and Delivery. Once in Labor and Delivery, we will have a nurse check your cervix, monitor the baby and call us regarding your status. After this assessment, we will make a plan of action. Admission blood work will be drawn and an IV will be started. IV access allows us to keep you from becoming dehydrated, as you will not be eating or drinking during labor. The IV also allows us to have access for drugs or blood products, which may be necessary in an emergency situation.
Position of Baby: By 36 weeks, the baby’s position will be determined to assure the fetus is headfirst. If the baby is breech, we can talk about external cephalic version, which will change the baby’s position to vertex (head down) versus cesarean delivery.
Group B streptococcus culture (GBS): At your 36 week visit a vaginal culture will be performed to screen for GBS, a bacteria that many women carry and poses no risk to them. GBS can cause infections in newborns and mothers who carry GBS will receive an antibiotic in labor to reduce risk of transmission to their baby.
Mucous Plug: Passing the mucous plug is said to happen when the cervix begins to dilate, and the normal mucous found in the cervical canal is discharged from the vagina. In books and classes, this event is taught to be extremely important. We have found this to be greatly over-emphasized. In fact, losing the mucous plug is not one of the signs that we instruct our patients to watch for. It is not necessary to call the office when it passes. The two most important signs of labor are having your water break or having regular uterine contractions as frequently as 12 in one hour or every 5 minutes.
Electronic Fetal Monitoring: During your stay in Labor and Delivery, we will recommend monitoring the baby continuously to make sure he or she is tolerating labor without stress. Of course, we will also be monitoring you to make sure neither of you develops any problems.
Anesthesia/Analgesia: Are you planning to use an epidural? Epidural anesthesia can be administered if you are in active labor and you feel your contractions are strong enough to warrant that type of pain relief. Many times in early labor, we can give a medication called Fentanyl, a short-acting IV narcotic to take the edge off the pain. Ultimately, the choice is yours. Much has been discussed about the effect of an epidural on labor. We believe that use of epidural anesthesia is of great benefit to the patient as it makes labor more tolerable. We also believe that an epidural does not prolong labor, nor increase the risk for Cesarean section. If you would like to try to attempt birth without anesthesia we will support your decision, but anesthesia may be necessary in certain emergency situations or if a Cesarean section is indicated.
Cesarean Section Indications: We plan for a vaginal delivery. However, there are several common reasons why you might require a cesarean delivery: if the baby is breech, if the baby is too large for the birth canal, or if the baby shows signs of not tolerating labor.
Post-Dates: Should you go beyond your due date, induction will be scheduled.
Postpartum Care: We would like you to be evaluated in the office six weeks after delivery. Prior to that, call us if you have any excessive pain, excessive bleeding, or fever above 101 F. For pain control during this period, we will prescribe 600mg of Motrin every 6 hours as needed. Other pain medications may be prescribed, especially for patients who have a cesarean section. Please refer to the postpartum section of our website in “A Resource for Pregnant Mothers” for further information.
Postpartum Contraception: We will discuss options with you at your postpartum visit based on your individual situation. This might include:
To learn more about what to expect or to schedule an appointment, please call our main office at (404) 255-3633. You can also use our online Request an Appointment form. Mothers-to-be visit us from the area of Buckhead in Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Dunwoody, Roswell, Forsyth, Cumming, and North Atlanta in Fulton County, GA